Author Archives: S.P.

Our Singing God

“Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away the judgments against you; He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.

On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:14-17).

Does your God sing over you?

If we are being honest with our Protestant-Reformed-Presbyterian selves, the claim that God is singing over us may seem a bit uncomfortable at first. It sounds a little squishy, like something a worship leader would say, right before she belts out her well-rehearsed spontaneous tongues. God – you are singing over your people – shalalala. Or maybe something its something you’d come across in one of those homey and poetic devotional type books for women, “In embracing our brokenness we hear Abba singing shalom over us.”

Right? Sadly, that is where our minds may tend to go when someone starts talking about God in this way. But this is what God says about himself, through the prophet Zephaniah. And it is glorious. It is pure and refreshing grace being poured on our heads. And it should bring great comfort to our hearts.

In this passage, we are commanded to, “Sing aloud! Shout! Rejoice and exult with all your heart!”

And why are we to do this? It is in response to what the Lord has done for us: He has “taken away the judgments against us” and “cleared away our enemies.” He is the King who dwells with His people so that we never have to “fear evil again.”

And when has God done these things for His people? Well, throughout history He has stretched out His saving arm many times, but most precisely and efficaciously, He has done this through His Incarnate Son. He has done this in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

God in Christ is the mighty one who will save. Christ, Immanuel, is the one that has stepped into our midst and has taken away the judgments against us. And we respond in exuberant praise of thanksgiving and joy.

God saves us because in Christ He loves us. And He responds to our praise by “rejoicing over us in gladness, quieting us by His love, and exulting over us with loud singing.” He is not a stoic, distant god. He is love. He delights in His people with His own praise.

He rejoices over us as a father rejoices over his children. Picture a father rejoicing over a newborn child, cradling them in his arms, knowing that they would do anything to protect and provide for this new little one. Like that, the Lord rejoices over his born-again children whom He adopted with everlasting delight.

So I want to ask you again. Does your God sing over you? Does He? I just told you that He does, but I want to know if you truly believe that. When you pray to God, when you read the Scriptures, when you sing psalms, when you are being disciplined by God, when you remember His salvation, do you see Him exulting over you, singing praises?

This morning I want to insist that you must. You must have a category in your head and in your heart for this kind of God. He is our good Father, and He loves to sing over His children.

Why Churches Ought to Publish a ‘Statement of Faith’ Online

Louis Berkhof (Introduction to Systematic Theology):

The position of the Church in the world calls for a united testimony. Every Church owes it to other Churches and to the world round about her, to make a public declaration of her teachings. If it is but natural that w desire to know something about the character and convictions of the people to whom we would entrust our material interests, it will certainly be considered highly desirable, and in fact quite essential, that we know exactly where a Church stands, in which we would seek spiritual guidance for ourselves and for our children. Moreover, one Church will have to know where another stands, in order to be able to determine in how far it can correspond, cooperate, and possibly affiliate with such a Church. The Church of Jesus Christ should never seek refuge in camouflage, should not try to hide her identity. And this is exactly what she does in the measure in which she fails to give a clear and unequivocal expression of her faith.

Defend What You Love

A Serrated Edge: A Brief Defense of Biblical Satire and Trinitarian SkylarkingA Serrated Edge: A Brief Defense of Biblical Satire and Trinitarian Skylarking by Douglas Wilson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Love that refuses to defend that which is loved is not biblical love at all. Such a sentiment is actually self-absorption. Love that shuns a fight is an oxymoron, and so I turn the charge around. The modern evangelical world says peace, peace, but there is no peace. Neither is there love.

I love the right worship of our triune God, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit of both. I love the Church, despite the make-up she is currently using. I love the Scriptures, and the message of free grace it brings to a race steeped in idolatrous folly. I love my wife, children, and grandchildren. Thought I haven’t seen them, I love my great-grandchildren and want my descendants to have a place to live in the world where they can worship God with more than three chords. I love my parents, brothers, sister, cousins, nieces, and nephews. God has given us a heritage that I intend to love fiercely until I die. I love the Reformed faith – both its glorious past and yet more glorious future.”

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Favorite Books of 2017

For the past couple years I have looked back on the books I have read and listed my favorites (see: 2015, 2016). And this year I will do the same. In total, Goodreads says I read 72 books in 2017. It was a good year for reading, and the amount of books increased due to my Greyfriars Hall studies. I enjoy taking the time to list my favorites so that I am able to look back and see what I enjoyed / my trajectories. With a large pile of personal to-read books for 2018, I look forward to the coming year.

Here are the books I enjoyed the most in 2017, in an order that is intentional but not thoroughly thought through. Click on the book covers to read more or purchase.

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And Such Were Some of You

The Text

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor. 6:9-11 ESV

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